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Press Release

Members Of Violent Trinitarios Gang Found Guilty In Manhattan Federal Court In Connection With Racketeering, Murder, Attempted Murder, And Narcotics Offenses

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that CARLOS URENA and LIMET VASQUEZ were both found guilty after trial of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, and a drug conspiracy involving marijuana, crack cocaine, powder cocaine, and oxycodone. As part of the racketeering conviction, the jury found, among other things, that URENA and VASQUEZ participated in a conspiracy to murder Ka’Shawn Phillips in Yonkers, New York, in 2005, and in a separate attempted murder in Manhattan, New York, in 2005. URENA was also convicted of murder in aid of racketeering and the use of a firearm in connection with the murder in aid of racketeering, both in connection with the murder of Ka’Shawn Phillips. URENA and VASQUEZ were convicted following a seven-week jury trial presided over by U.S. District Judge Paul A. Engelmayer.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “The defendants, Carlos Urena and Limet Vasquez, now stand convicted after trial for perpetuating the crusade of crime for the Bronx Trinitarios Gang, including conspiring to murder a sixteen year-old rival gang member. The Bronx streets are safer because of the jury’s verdict and the continued efforts of our law enforcement partners – the NYPD, ATF, and the DEA – who help us in building these cases.”

According to the evidence introduced at trial, other proceedings in this case, and documents previously filed in Manhattan federal court:

URENA and VASQUEZ were members of the Bronx Trinitarios Gang (“BTG”), a criminal organization that operated primarily in the Bronx, New York. The BTG started in the prison system in the late 1980s and subsequently spread to the streets. URENA, VASQUEZ, and others carried out illegal activities as part of a racketeering conspiracy, and to accomplish BTG’s goals of enhancing its power, protecting its turf from rival gangs including the Dominicans Don’t Play, the Bloods, the Crips, the Latin Kings, and other gangs, and enriching its members. Those activities included murder, attempted murders, conspiracies to commit murders, robbery, and narcotics trafficking.

On September 2, 2005, URENA and VASQUEZ participated in an attempted murder of a rival gang member in the Fort Washington area of Manhattan. The next evening, on September 3, 2005, URENA and VASQUEZ participated in a conspiracy to murder a 16-year-old named Ka’Shawn Phillips, who they had been told was a member of a rival gang. On that evening, a group of Trinitarios attacked Phillips on Saratoga Avenue in Yonkers, stabbing and shooting him to death. URENA was one of the men who shot and killed Phillips. In addition, as part of their membership in the BTG, URENA and VASQUEZ also participated in other acts of violence and a narcotics conspiracy involving marijuana, crack cocaine, powder cocaine, and oxycodone.

URENA faces a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison. VASQUEZ faces a maximum sentence of life in prison, with a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison. A sentencing date has not yet been scheduled. The maximum potential sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.

Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the New York City Police Department’s Bronx Gang Squad, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ Joint Firearms Task Force, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

This case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Violent and Organized Crimes Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Ryan P. Poscablo, Timothy D. Sini, and Micah W. J. Smith conducted the trial.

U.S. v. Leonides Sierra et al S5 Indictment

Updated May 18, 2015

Press Release Number: 14-128